Neural DSP - is it really worth it?

I’ve been lately arguing on some other forums and FB posts about the merit of paying at least 100$ for an ampsim, basically a piece of software with a very limited use.

I am more used to a free ones - Ignite Emissary, ML Amped Roots, NaLex stuff…
A few weeks back I bought Audio Assault Sigma for 7$ and it is first plugin I actually paid for.
I like it, but I don’t find it much better than the free stuff.

So what’s the deal with Neural DSP?
Is it really so good that it justifies spending 1/8th of my monthly salary?
I’m really curious to hear arguments for getting one - and if it’s worth it then which one should I get?

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Neural has a great reputation but It sounds to me like you already have plenty good stuff.

Have you already experimented with different Impulse Responses? There’s some great free ones e.g. from Seacow Cabs and other developers. The cab can change the tone quality drastically, as you probably know already.

Maybe you can try loading a few different IRs into the Sigma before committing to a 100$ software.

Been there, done that :upside_down_face:

I’ve got a large folder of IRs and I don’t use most of them as there is always something weird about them, like the lack of top end or whatever. But that’s probably due to playing solo, should sound better on a mix.
Anyways, I mostly use Guitarhacks IRs.
I am familiar with Seacows and use them occasionally.
To be fair as long as I’m just jamming it doesn’t matter that much what I use, but in a mix I usually struggle with weak or unpleasant, low quality guitar tone. So I was thinking if more high end plugin would help, especially since nearly everyone I talk to swears by Neural DSP.

Ah wait I just remembered that Neural DSP offers a 14-day free trial on all products.

So I guess once you have your next track ready you could get a free trial and then you’ll have 2 weeks to try and get your final mix with that :slight_smile:

They also have 50% off sales occasionally.
I own the Plini and love it. It has some lovely clean sounds and nice ambient presets. It also does the high gain stuff which Neural are known for.
I have tried a few of their others on the 14 day trial but they are too high gain and metal oriented for me.
The Cory Wong sounds really nice as well :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yeah, I wasted my trial of Nameless when I was not playing guitar too much.

I tried Gojira’s the other day and it was too gainy from the start, to the point it was completely washed.

I mostly play black metal on an 8 string guitar, but I don’t really have my own tone tbh.
On of my favourite bands uses Marshalls, and I’ve found myself using mostly Marshall inspired ampsims (Crunchman, NaLex JCM800…) but it always sounded dry for me.

My biggest complaint about Neural DSPs plugins is pricing - 100USD for just one ampsim is a bit too steep to my liking, especially since basicaly once the plugin is created there is virtually unlimited amount of copies they could sell. I bet if they were cheaper more people would just buy them.

But back to the topic - is the quality really that much superior? Even trying out the Nameless for a few minutes I could not tell with my cheap stereo and of course I could not be bothered to plug in decent headphones. Silly me.

I was in a market for a new amp sim some time ago. I have mild synesthesia and I tasted the Neural tone. Had the 14 day trial and purchased Neural Nameless. Never regretted.

Also, I would not have paid that kind of money for any other ampsim.


I’m interested in how would it compare to other Marshall-ish ampsims, like Crunchman and Amplex JCM800.
And also how would it work with very low tuned black metal guitars, say, Batushka’s tone:

There’s distinct fizz in the highs, that sort of remids me of sandpaper.

Would you be able to compare the tones?

They extended all existing trials at one point. Have you checked if you have that in your iLok?

Nah, but I tried running it in Reaper and it said my trial has expired.

I tried a whole bunch of the neural stuff but like you say it feels like a rip off and it is. You can buy the nameless one but it doesn’t have reverb so you have to buy another amp sin for that then join them together using a DAW, I want all my stuff in one program. Im happy enough with bias FX 2 at the moment, the Neural stuff is all aimed at high gain chug chug metal.

It’s a separate activation for the extension.

If you have to ask…

There really is no reason to ask since they free trial all their plugins. Just download and see for yourself if it’s worth it.

My experience is that neuralDSP products are awesome. I have the Plini set and use it every day. I downloaded the free trial, fired it up and ten minutes later I bought it. Didn’t even need to wait for the trial to expire.

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I would wait a while and keep an eye on the Facebook groups and see what the general consensus is.

I would look at the negatives of the unit. We all know it sounds amazing, but I like to see if a group of users are having the same issues with the unit, and what the manufacturer does to rectify it. For example, I read the wi-fi signal on the unit can be weak. I’m sure this could be fixed up with a simple firmware update.

For the past six months I’ve been using Neural DSP plugins for everything guitar/bass related. I’m biased so take that into account as well.

I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years now. I always loved guitar technology, so I invested time and money into modelers from early on.

I’ve used the Line 6 POD, a Marshall JVM 50w, a Peavey 5150 combo, a Victory Kraken with a Torpedo Captor, an Axe Fx Ultra, an Ampli-Fire 3 and several plugins, including Line 6 Helix Native, Mercurial, LePou, etc. IRs companies? Honestly, I’ve tried them all.

After getting my first Neural plugin (Nolly), I sold everything I had from hardware stuff. I mean it. Everything is gone. I only have a midi keyboard, my audio interface and my studio monitors. After that I got Nameless and Cali. It was over then, after minimal tweaking I was getting my best tones by far. I don’t even use IRs anymore, Nolly has done an incredible job with the cab section of all Neural plugins.

Recently I also got the Wong, Gojira and Plini Archetypes. I have a -20% discount as a Neural customer and I combined that with the Black Friday sale.

Keep in mind that I don’t play live anymore and I’ll never do it again probably. I don’t need hardware to make music, but if I had to, I would get the Quad Cortex and call it a day. The responsiveness of the amp sims is incredible, the knobs react as the real amps’ and they’re mix ready with minimal tweaking.

Yes, they are expensive, I give you that. But I hated tweaking and using 5 different EQs just so I can get a decent tone. Now I don’t have to do that anymore, I just double click the icon and play.

The Nolly 5150 reacts like my old 5150, the modded Marshall is very similar with the crunch channel of the JVM. The Nameless is an evil modded Plexi and can get a lot of tones, aggressive and milder ones. The Cali can go from SRV to modern 7-string metal. You can’t go wrong with these, just use the trial and try to play with a decent audio interface/monitor setup, huge part of the experience is there.

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Yeah, that’s the thing - I don’t have monitors. At the moment I use either an old, cheap Sony stereo or Sennheiser HD599 earphones (which are great, bur more consumer grade).
I probably should get the monitors first and then think of getting better ampsims, right?

Also, I’ve never had any decent hardware. My first and only amp is 20W Kustom 112 combo that I only used several times in past 8 years.
I don’t play gigs yet, just band practices but there is a decent amp there - some Randall head.
So I’m basically sentenced to using plugins for the time being and I doubt it’ll change anytime soon.

Currently if I were to choose right now, I’d be considering either Nameless or Granophyre.
The Nameless can sound too “in your face” at times, but I think it’s mostly due to the cab.
I wish they all were in one suite, so I could mix heads, cabs and pedals between them.

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The Gojira amp sim sounds amazing.

The one thing that does attract me to the Neural is that you will be able to upload your Neural DSP sims on to it.

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That’s a huge plus for plugin users who’ll buy the Quad Cortex.

Gojira’s pitch shift is fantastic. I recorded the clip below with a Telecaster in Standard E and drop tuned it to B. Sounds more than decent for demo recording imo.


Sounds good IMO, however as I’m testing Gojira now it seems to be too muddy with my 8 string:

Amplex for comparison:

BTW I’m struggling with this riff, I’ve tried countless option for next part, to no avail.

I like both sounds, different approaches entirely. If you need help with Gojira, you can send me a DI, so I can work on it and tell you what I did.